The Interim

The Court of Queen’s Bench has reversed the 2002 Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission decision that found a man who placed references to Bible verses on homosexuality into a newspaper ad guilty of inciting hatred. Both Hugh Owens of Regina and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix were ordered to pay $1500 to three homosexual activists after Owens placed an ad in the Saskatoon paper in 1997 that featured references to four Bible verses (Romans 1, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and a stick figure symbol of two males with a red circle with diagonal line to represent the Bible’s opposition to homosexual behaviour. The HRC said that Owens violated section 14(1)(b) of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code prohibiting the display of signs or statements which could expose certain individuals (in this case homosexuals) to hatred or ridicule. The Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that Section 14(1)(b) must be read in a way that respected freedom of speech and religion as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.